Friends of Shrewsbury Park 10th Anniversary Festival

Friends of Shrewsbury Park Parksfest leaflet

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park are holding a weekend of festivities to mark their tenth anniversary: they first met on 13th March 2006, and have been responsible for many improvements to the park since then. Kathy, the Chair of the management committee wrote with details:

We are planning a weekend of events to celebrate our 10th birthday.  On Saturday 11 June we are holding our summer festival of jazz, choir and dance from 2 – 4pm.  On Sunday 12th June, we are holding our fabulous Dog Show from 1 – 4pm.

Saturday 11 June 2-4pm – we have Bella Voce Social Club Choir, Greenwich Morris Men, Summer Jazz from Jazz Nights, Community Activity Stalls, Solar Scopes, Pony rides and more
Sunday 12 June 1-4pm – our fabulous Dog Show featuring fun agility course, best rescue dog, Shrewsbury’s got talent, best child handler, Puppy class (under 12 months), best fancy dress, obedience class, fastest dog. You need to enter your dog at the Registration desk at 12.30. The £2 per class goes towards the fundraising for the drinking fountain.

The park’s summer festivals are always very enjoyable, with lots of different activities from the Flamsteed Astronomy Society demonstrating how to safely view the sun through to the traditional dancing of the Greenwich Morris Men. And the dog show is always great fun. This year’s line-up looks the best yet.

 

Solar telescopes at the 2015 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Solar telescopes at the 2015 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Agility competition at the 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Agility competition at the 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

Shrewsbury Park Events in 2016

A Spring day in Shrewsbury Park
A Spring day in Shrewsbury Park

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park celebrate their tenth birthday this year and have arranged a packed programme of events to mark the anniversary, starting with a bramble clearing session this Saturday. Kathy, the Friends’ Chair, e-mailed the details:

We are holding a cutting back bramble hour on Saturday 19th March, at 11am. If you are able to help, please meet at the crossroads of Dothill and the Green Chain walk (the bottom of the concrete path that leads down from the car park).  Please bring stout gloves and your secateurs and loppers, we would appreciate your help.  If it rains, the event will not take place.

The 2016 events include bird, butterfly and bat walks, and a history walk, plus the ever entertaining dog show. The full programme is:

March         19th:   Clearing brambles
April            30th:  Bird identification walk
May             21st:   Tree identification walk
June            4th:    Clearing brambles
June            11th:   Summer Festival
June            12th:   Dog Show
July             16th:   Butterfly identification walk
July             22nd:  Historical walk
September  2nd:   Bat walk
September  3rd:    Clearing brambles
October      18th:   AGM

The Friends have also re-built their web site and are regularly adding new content, it can be found at http://fspark.org.uk/ They would welcome feedback on the site. I think it’s looking pretty good.

A Spring day in Shrewsbury Park
A Spring day in Shrewsbury Park

Park Weekend

Eaglesfield Park Sunday 27th Sept 2015

The weather for the weekend is forecast  to be “Fine and dry with settled conditions,” so a good weekend to get out into our local parks. Both Shrewsbury Park and Eaglesfield Park have community activities this weekend.

On Saturday the Friends of Shrewsbury Park are having one of their regular tidy-up sessions. Kathy wrote with details:

If you can spare an hour to help clean up the park by picking up rubbish and cutting back brambles, please meet this Saturday at 11am at the Garland Road entrance to Dothill.  Please bring your gardening gloves and secateurs.

Then on Sunday the Friends of Eaglesfield Park have things going on all day. In the morning they have one of their clean-up sessions at the lilly pond, assisted from 11.00am by Youth Volunteers from NCS (National Citizen Service), then after lunch another free Tai Chi session led by Tai Chi  teacher Chew-Yeen. Following the Tai Chi, Chew-Yeen has organised a “cake sharing” for a donation of £2 in support of MacMillan Cancer Nurses. We’ll need to bring our own flask of tea or coffee

The details are all on the Friends’ blog, but the key times are:

10.30 am  –                     Monthly pond and meadow tidy up and weeding.
11.00 am – 3.30 pm      Youth volunteers from NCS (National Citizen Service)  weeding and community survey.
1.00 – 2.00 pm              Tai Chi session.

Let’s hope the met office are right for once.

Hawthorn berries in Eaglesfield Park
Hawthorn berries in Eaglesfield Park

Shrewsbury Park Bat Walk

Friends of Shrewsbury Park‘s bat walk poster

September is the start of the breeding season for bats and also when they  start to build up their fat stores for the winter hibernation, so hopefully there will be plenty of them around for the Shrewsbury Park bat walk on Friday. Kathy from the Friends of Shrewsbury Park e-mailed the poster and details of the walk:

Please find poster attached giving details of the Bat Walk on 11 September, starting at 7.45pm in the car park.
It is free to you as you are a member of the Friends of Shrewsbury Park. You will see that we have decided to charge non-members for the walk. If non-members join the Friends, then the walk will be free to them. By charging non-members, we will increase the funding towards our drinking fountain. If they join, then we will increase our membership.
We will have to spend a few minutes at the beginning of the walk checking membership.
Just a reminder, if it is raining, the bats will not be out, nor will we.
Fingers crossed for a dry evening.

This is the last local bat walk for this year as far as I know. Lots of bats have been detected and sighted on all the others, let’s hope Friday maintains the record.

Brown Long Eared bat from Jenny Clark's education team at Batfest 2015
Brown Long Eared bat from Jenny Clark’s education team at Batfest 2015
Serotine bat from Jenny Clark's education team at Batfest 2015
Serotine bat from Jenny Clark’s education team at Batfest 2015

The Walking Time Machine and other walks in Shrewsbury Park

Greenwich Morris Men at Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Greenwich Morris Men at Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

Local archaeologist Andy Brockman will be the “Walking Time Machine” on Friday when he leads a walk through the history in and around Shrewsbury Park. This is the first of three free walks arranged by the Friends of Shrewsbury Park. Kathy from the Friends wrote with details:

One of our members, Andy Brockman, who is a Shooters Hill based archaeologist, is providing a free walk on Friday 17 July 2015 starting at 7.30pm. If you are interested, please meet at the car park off Plum Lane. He says, “your journey aboard the Walking Time Machine will last approximately one and a half hours and twelve thousand years, taking in the Bronze Age, London’s first Open Air School and the Battle of Britain. Families and well behaved dogs are welcome. This event is part of the Council for British Archaeology Festival of British Archaeology.

and then:

19th July, at 10am: Local birds.  John Beckham will be leading the walk around the park and pointing out the local birds. Meet at the Garland Road entrance and bring binoculars if you have them.
25 July, at 3pm: Butterflies.  John Denton will be showing us the different butterflies in the park. Meet at the Green Chain sign on Dothill (at the bottom of the concrete path that leads from the car park).  Bring binoculars if you have them.

The “Walking Time Machine” is part of the 25th Festival of Archaeology which is co-ordinated by the Council for British Archaeology. There are over a thousand events taking place across the country between the 11th and 26th July 2015. I’m looking forward to learning about the Open Air School which was the first such school opened by the LCC in 1908 and based in Shrewsbury Park. David Lloyd Bathe’s “Steeped in History” describes the school, and includes a number of photographs of it such as the one below from the Greenwich Heritage Centre. Some of the pictures are of wooden buildings that formed part of the school. It’d  be interesting to know where they were located. And where in Shrewsbury Park was Colonel Bagnold’s Bronze Age barrow number 6?

Nature studies at the Shooters Hill Open Air School, from the Greenwich Heritage Centre collection
Nature studies at the Shooters Hill Open Air School, from the Greenwich Heritage Centre collection

Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival 2015

Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival 2015 leaflet

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park have excelled themselves with the number of attractions and events in year’s Summer Festival, which takes place on Sunday 28th June from 2-5pm. Kathy from the Friends wrote with all the details:

We hope to see you at our Summer Festival on 28 June.  The fabulous dog show will start registration at 1.30pm, and the classes are:
*  fun agility course
*  best rescue dog
*  best child handler
*  sing with your dog
*  puppy class
*  obedience class
*  fastest dog.
It costs £2 per class, and the profits go to Friends of Shrewsbury Park (to go towards our drinking fountain).
We will have the Doriel School of Dancing at 2pm, Greenwich Morris Men at 3pm, and Leo’s Kpop group at 4pm.  They will be presenting a routine, then teaching any willing participant to do a routine.
We will have the Greenwich Rock Pop Community Choir from Abbey Wood who will run a small singing workshop. They will get a bunch of passers by, give them a lyric sheet and teach them the harmonies to a song like daft punk’s – Get Lucky,  Beatles – Help, Mama/Papas – california dreamin’.
Hawk and Hood will be there with their birds of prey, and Woodlands Farm Trust will bring along some of their sheep to the event.
We will also have the Dogs Trust, Flamsteed Astronomy Society, Friends of Pet Cemetery, Friends of Bostal Heath, Guide Dogs, the Police, RSPB, Severndroog Castle, Paws and Co, Riverford Home Delivery, Season, the local Councillors, Aloe Vera alternative, Robert’s Walking Sticks, Shabby Chic, and Phoenix Cards.  The Friends of Shrewsbury Park will be providing a Tea and Cake stall, lots of goodies in the bric a brac, a children’s play area, used books and membership stall.

It’s worth going to the Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival just for the brilliant, entertaining dog show, but with all the other events and stalls too it is just unmissable.

Obedience Competition at 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Obedience Competition at 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Fastest Dog Competition at 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Fastest Dog Competition at 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

 

Shrewsbury Park Bat Walk

May 15 bat walk poster

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park‘s bat walks have become so popular that this year they will be holding two. The first will be held next Friday, 15th May, and the second later in the year on 11th September. An e-mail from the Friends gave the details:

Hang out with the bats
Shrewsbury Park 15th May 2015
Meet in the car park off Plum Lane at 8.00pm for an introduction from bat-wise FSP members who will lead this adventure through the park at sunset using our eyes, ears and bat detectors!
– Wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing
– Children must be accompanied by an adult
– Walk lasts about 1 ½ hours and torches are helpful
– Dogs must be kept on a lead
– If you have mobility issues, please contact us on fspdog@hotmail.com and we will help you to participate.  The trail is a mixture of paved path, gravel and grass.
If it rains, neither the bats nor us will be coming out!!

The Friends will be borrowing bat detectors for the evening from the local parks forum,  the Bat Conservation Trust and London Bat Group.

Biggles the giant Pipistrelle at Bat Fest at the Natural History Museum
Biggles the giant Pipistrelle at Bat Fest at the Natural History Museum

If you’re interested in bats then there will be lots of other chances to see them during the summer months. You can get really close to bats at the annual Bat Fest held at the Natural History Museum. This year it will be held over the August Bank Holiday weekend, 29th and 30th August from 12-5pm. One of the many highlights is Jenny Clark and her education bats, as the BCT website says:

Sussex Bat Hospital –  One of our most popular attractions!
Learn about the work of Jenny the bat carer a.k.a. ‘BatLady’ who will bring her bat lodgers in for the day. These bats have been previously injured but sadly cannot be released into the wild. However, they live a comfortable life with Jenny who caters to all of their batty needs.

Jenny, who was awarded the MBE in the 2015 New Years Honours List for her services to bat conservation, brings along examples of most of the UK bat species and shows them off to visitors.

There will also be a number of other bat walks in the local area during the coming months. Woodlands Farm and Hall Place haven’t published the dates for their bat walks yet, but Crossness Nature Reserve have. The Bexley Wildlife blog has the details:

Fri 14th Aug, 20:15 – 22:30
BAT WALK– A walk round Southmere Lake and Crossness Southern Marsh, south of Eastern Way, identifying bat species with the use of bat detectors. Daubenton’s bats will be putting on a show over the lake, and Pipistrelle bats – and hopefully other species – will be hunting over the marshes. Feel free to bring children along. Bring a torch if you have one and you might want to wear some insect repellent. Sorry, there are no refreshments provided for this event
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS DATE MAY NEED TO BE CHANGED. PLEASE BOOK ON IF INTERESTED IN ATTENDING AND I WILL UPDATE YOU IF THERE IS A DATE CHANGE – THANK YOU
Meet 20:15 at the Southmere Lake/ Lakeside Complex car park off Belvedere Road (SE2 9AQ)

Fri 11th Sept, 19:00 – 21:00
BAT WALK– A nocturnal walk around the nature reserve north of Eastern Way after sunset, identifying bat species with the use of bat detectors. Hopefully we’ll see some other nocturnal species too. Bring a torch if you have one, and you might wish to wear some insect repellent.

Book for these by contacting Karen Sutton, the Biodiversity Team Manager at Thames Water Crossness Nature Reserve by phone on 07747 643958 or Email: Karen.sutton@thameswater.co.uk.

If you can’t wait to see some bats here is a video of a pipistrelle bat in the hand. Remember though, if you do find a bat you shouldn’t handle it, but follow the BCT guidelines for containing it and contact the Bat Helpline on 0345 1300 228 or email enquiries@bats.org.uk.

Community Spring Cleaning

Shrewsbury Park
Shrewsbury Park

Local community groups from Shrewsbury Park, Mayplace Lane and Cantwell Road will each be getting together over this weekend to spruce up their areas, then the following weekend the Friends of Eaglesfield Park will be starting their regular maintenance sessions at the lilly pond (about which more in a later post ). Plus the Friends of the Pet Cemetery Charlton are holding gardening sessions on the second Sunday of each month at the cemetery. All of these groups would welcome volunteers to help.

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park are meeting on Saturday. Kathy from the Friends wrote with details:

We will be holding a clearing session on Saturday 21st March, from 11am – 12 noon. We will be taking ivy off trees and picking up litter.
If you can spare an hour, please meet at the Garland Road entrance to Dothill at 11am. You will need to wear stout gloves and sensible shoes. Please bring your own secateurs/loppers.
We look forward to seeing you there.

On Sunday morning between 10:30-12:00 the Mayplace Lane group will be planting some fruit hedging bought with money donated by local residents and also building bug houses and litter picking. Any materials suitable for bug houses would be appreciated, for example: bricks, air bricks, clay pots, tiles and wood. Nicola has arranged for Greenwich Council to provide litter pickers and rubbish bags, and to pick up the rubbish on Monday morning.

Then on Sunday afternoon the Cantwell Road residents will be meeting for a community spring clean. Geoff wrote:

Now that Spring is here Ivanhoe Norona from Maple Court has suggested that anyone interested  in a “Community Spring Clean” of various areas including the Cantwell Triangle and the wooded area between Eglinton Hill and Cantwell meet at 2pm on Sunday 22nd March at the Cantwell Triangle (opposite junction of Brent and Cantwell). He says, “We might even be able to invite our local councillors and see if the council would like to be involved.”

So this weekend sees three good opportunities to meet neighbours and help improve the places we live in.

Mayplace Lane
Mayplace Lane

Shrewsbury Park Bat Walk

Shrewsbury Park bat walk poster 2014

Bats have become very popular, perhaps surprisingly given their past unfortunate associations with blood-sucking vampires. Bat walks are consistently fully booked up: both Woodlands Farm and Hall Place had no spare spaces on nightime strolls with bat detectors  in the last couple of weeks. And in July the Bat Conservation Trust’s  Bat Fest weekend at the Natural History Museum had its busiest year yet with nearly 3000 visitors.

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park‘s bat walks have always been very well attended. This year’s will be held next Friday, 5th September. An e-mail from the Friends gave the details:

We will be providing a bat walk on Friday 5th September.  If you would like to attend, please meet in the car park at 7.30pm for an introduction to bats by Kris and Les, and a demonstration on how to use the bat detectors.  The walk will last about an hour and a half.
– please wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing
– children must be accompanied by an adult
– dogs must be kept on a lead
– please bring a torch.
If you have mobility issues, please contact us so we can help you to participate.  The trail is a mixture of paved path, gravel and grass.
If it rains, neither the bats nor us will be coming out!!

Biggles the giant Pipistrelle at Bat Fest at the Natural History Museum
Biggles the giant Pipistrelle at Bat Fest at the Natural History Museum

Bats’ popularity isn’t confined to the UK. This Saturday is the 18th International Bat Night, an event which started in 1997 and is marked by batty events in more than 30 countries all over the world. The Bat Conservation Trust in the UK is holding a Creative Competition for International Bat Night:

To enter the competition all you have to do is create something original and inspiring that represents how you celebrated International Bat Night. Your entry could be a drawing or painting of a bat you saw whilst on a bat walk, a picture of bat shaped cookies you baked, or a poem or short story inspired by your activities.

The closing date for entries is next Friday 5th September.

Why the increased interest in bats and bat walks? Part of the reason, I think, is that bat detectors have become less expensive, and they are also available for loan for bat walks from the BCT, London Bat Group and park groups so it’s easier to find bats. Also, though, they are such fascinating creatures. They can detect and then capture insects such as midges on the wing using their echolocation – they shout continually as they fly around and use the echoes from tiny insects to “see” where their prey is. They have wonderful wings, constructed from layers of skins over elongated finger bones, hence the name of their order, chiroptera, meaning “hand-wing”.  This gives them great agility and control in flight, as you can see in the amazing film footage included below.

 

Shooters Hill Park Fêtes

Friends of Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival leaflet

Next weekend in Shooters Hill is going to be busy, with both the Friends of Shrewsbury Park and the Eaglesfield Park Neighbourhood Watch Scheme holding their summer fêtes, as well as the opening of Severndroog Castle and a London Bubble play, Ishbel and I, at Castle Woods.

The Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival is on Saturday, 19th July, starting at 1.00pm. As well as their highly entertaining dog show, complete with competitions for agility, speed and catching biscuits, the Hawk and Hood School of Falconry will be there and there will be opportunities to learn how to safely observe the sun and to help judge the Friends’ photographic competition. There is still just about time to enter the competition, the deadline for entries is tomorrow, 16th July. The Friends web site has details of how to enter:

We invite you to capture images of the Park over the next few months. They can be dramatic, seasonal, humorous, exciting, tranquil, close ups or panoramic– with or without people and wildlife, colour or black and white.
The twelve most interesting photos will be chosen to be included in our 2015 calendar.
Please send your photos to fspdog@hotmail.com with ‘photo comp’ as the subject. It would be very helpful if you also produce a suitable print if possible. Please include your name and a caption, and how best to be in touch with you.

 

Agility competition at Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Agility competition at Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

 

EPNWS Community fete Poster

The following day, Sunday 20th July, the Eaglesfield Park Neighbourhood Watch Scheme will be holding their Community Fête, which will be opened by the new leader of Greenwich Council and former local councillor Denise Hyland at 12.00 noon. The EPNWS Summer Newsletter described the afternoon’s events:

The Eaglesfield Park Neighbourhood Watch Scheme (EPNWS) invites you and your family to an afternoon of fun on Sunday 20 July from 12noon to 4pm in Eaglesfield Park. Take part in the activities, wander around the stands and stalls and meet the people that help make our community great. This is the seventh year that the fete has been held to help promote the benefits of Neighbourhood Watch and foster community spirit. The fete will be opened by special guests, including the winner of the poster competition from Christ Church Primary School.
Some of the activities include a hula hoop demonstration, mini tennis, children’s story telling, face painting and a Punch and Judy show. The Shooters Hill Safer Neighbourhoods Police Team is pulling out all the stops for some fun and exciting activities, with the Greenwich Met Police teams on hand and music from the Police Cadets Drum Corp. You can buy home-made cakes and refreshments, and take part in our raffle to win a pair of tickets to see Disney on Ice in The Royal Borough of Greenwich hospitality box at the 02 on Christmas Eve. The day of fun finishes at the Shooters Hill Lawn Tennis Club which welcomes all the community to check out their new club facilities, with a BBQ and refreshments at the club house from 4pm to 7pm.

There will also be a chance to try some pond dipping in the Lilly Pond hosted by the Friends of Eaglesfield Park.

Let’s hope the good weather continues through the weekend. Last year the opening time for the EPNWS Community Fête was marked by torrential rain!

Stalls at Eaglesfield Park Neighbourhood Watch Community Fête
Stalls at Eaglesfield Park Neighbourhood Watch Community Fête